Statehood, Nationality and Democracy: The Baltic States and Finland CEES4053

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This is an Honours course taught by Central and East European Studies. It can be taken as part of the MA Honours Social Science Programme. The course examines how Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland (initially categorised by some as the 'fourth Baltic State') responded to the challenges of state and nation-building during the period between their formation in 1918 and the Second World War.

Timetable

One 2 hour class per week

This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the CEES Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory entry requirements
Entry to CEES Honours normally requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over CEES 2A and CEES 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses

None

Co-requisites

None

Assessment

■ 4,000 word extended essay (80%)

■ Assessed oral presentation (20%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course examines how Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland (initially categorised by some as the 'fourth Baltic State') responded to the challenges of state and nation-building during the period between their formation in 1918 and the Second World War. The leaders of all four countries were called upon to create new state institutions and forge coherent national identities on the basis of ethnically and socially diverse populations and against the background of the profound dislocation and disruption brought about by World War One and the collapse of Empire. Estonia and Latvia conducted some fascinating experiments with 'ultra-democracy' during the 1920s, including a system of cultural autonomy for national minorities which continues to inspire discussions on minority rights in today's Europe; ultimately, however, all three Baltic States went down the road of authoritarian nationalist rule. Finland's parliamentary democracy, by contrast, was able to weather the Great Depression, despite a strong challenge from the Radical Right. The fates of Finland and the three Baltic States then diverged even more fundamentally during the crisis of 1939-40 and its aftermath: whereas Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were absorbed into the USSR for the next half a century, Finland survived the war as an independent state. The sobering experience of 1940-1944 opened a new chapter in its relations with its Soviet neighbour and allowed it to consolidate the 'Nordic' identity that it had begun to cultivate during the 1930s. The course discusses the factors that lie behind these divergent paths, whilst also encouraging students to locate these countries within broader debates around statehood, nationality, democratisation and the development of inter-war Europe.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students should be able to

■ identify similarities and differences in the historical development of the three Baltic states during 1918-44, as well as draw comparisons with parallel events in Finland during the same period

■ indicate how the Baltic states constructed their political and economic independence during 1918-40, with particular reference to the ways in which representatives of 'non-titular' national groups responded to strategies of state and nation-building

■ explain how external actors (e.g. the League of Nations) influenced relations between the Baltic states and their minority populations during 1918-40

■ analyse critically key texts and historical records relating to the evolution of statehood, nationality and identity in the Baltic states and Finland during 1918-44, as well as the main theories and interpretations relating to these issues

■ deploy competent argument and be discerning in the use of source material, including statistical data

■ show capacity both for independent research and for effective group work and, within this context, make succinct and coherent oral presentations to an informed audience

■ Locate the experience of the Baltic States and Finland within broader debates around statehood, nationality, democratisation and the development of inter-war Europe

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

None